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Who is protesting? All Palestinians are experiencing the rise in the cost of living, but Palestinian youth – primarily young men – initiate and participate in the public demonstrations as one of the main forces demanding change. Young people are worried about what is happening in the current political and economic situation in Palestine, but also about their own personal present and future. Education and opportunities are of paramount importance for the youth and if the government doesn’t support education and generate appropriate opportunities, some of them declare they will find their future abroad. Yet they want to struggle to have the chance to decide for themselves.
Osama. 22 years old. Lives in Bethlehem.
Why are you protesting? To ask for cancelation of Paris Agreement (Protocol on Economic Relations, signed in Paris between the Israeli government and the PLO on 29 April 1994-AIC) because it puts us in a very bad position; we have to be against the occupation but also against government policies. We are looking for a better life, we want to study in the university, to get a good education. Sometimes, when you work you earn 100, 200, 300 dollars, but it isn’t enough. We want to reach our goals in work and life.
What are you doing? I am studying Theatre in college, but I don´t know if I will continue my studies this year. I am looking for a job. For example, I have found something for a few days and I earned NIS 50 per day. I have to pay 800 (Jordanian) dinar for one semester in college. My parents are dead and I am the adult of the house, responsible for my brother. Tuition fees have risen in some universities, but education shouldn´t only be for rich people. We have to have free education!
How is the economic situation affecting people? We have problems even buying bread; this is what makes people feel really angry. We want a change.
Solutions? Social pressure will be an important factor. There are many people supporting the protest. Maybe many people were afraid until now, but we are becoming more and more people on the street. This is a process. We also ask the government to boycott Israeli products; we have to support Palestinian products to have a national project. The problem is not only Fayyad, it is also the Paris Agreement, and we want someone who will cancel it.
Dana. 21 years old. Lives in Bethlehem.
Why are you protesting? I am protesting against the rise of taxes and against the economic situation and unemployment.
What are you doing?I am a student in Bethlehem. I will graduate in Media and also as a film director, but I won´t find a job after my studies. A., Dana´s friend and one of the few other women taking part in the demonstration, is holding a banner stating “Don´t be worried Grandmother, Fayyad will find a job for me in Libya”).
How is the economic situation affecting people? The rising costs are affecting the normal life of people. For example, for students who want to go to college, some of them cannot afford the prices and maybe they will have to drop out. Or even if they finished university studies, they will have to emigrate and find a job in another country.
Solutions? My basic demand is simple. We are looking for dignity and for a life we can afford.